by Idra Novey

Finis: Fidelity

Grace Paley’s last poems.

In the last year of her remarkable life, Grace Paley completed a rather remarkable manuscript of poems. What makes Fidelity (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $20.00) so striking is what has made Paley stand out as a poet and prose writer for many years: she is as bold and radical as she is funny. At 85, Paley’s meditations are often focused on aging and the people she has lost, but the poems are also terrifically witty. In the poem, “An Occasional Speech at the Interfaith Thanksgiving Gathering,” Paley writes, “Anyone who gets to be / eighty years old says thank you/ to the One in charge then im-/ mediately begins to complain.”

Continue reading this article…

Already a subscriber? Log in above to keep reading. Or subscribe now for immediate access to the complete digital and print editions, plus exclusive online access to Lilith's back issues.